Time was running out.
Executives at adult alternative Minneapolis radio station KTCZ (Cities 97) were waiting on a phone call from Adele's management and it was down to the wire. KTCZ was hoping to secure permission to release one of her in-studio live performances, recorded at the station, for its annual charity album. The compilation set always sells out, and last year raised $750,000 for local charities.
The only problem? They were about to manufacture the set and hadn't heard if Adele and her team were on board.
"We think the world of her as an artist," says KTCZ program director Lauren MacLeash. "We literally were waiting and biting our nails and put production off until we could get an absolute answer from her management."
Getting clearance on the use of either of the two tracks would be a coup for the station. Both songs reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and are from her Billboard 200-topping sophomore album "21."
"We had three master copies of the (charity album) this year," MacLeash continues. "One had 'Someone Like You,' one had 'Rolling in the Deep' and one didn't have anything from Adele."
Luckily, Adele and her management granted the use of her live rendition of "Someone Like You," which was recorded live at KTCZ's Studio C during her station visit on Oct. 23, 2010.
With "Someone Like You" given the go-ahead, the 19-song "Cities 97 Sampler: Live From Studio C 23" compilation was manufactured and arrived on shelves on Nov. 17 with "Someone" as the first track on the album. Other artists featured on the set include Florence + The Machine and Mumford & Sons.
Exclusively available at local Target stores for $25.97, the CD sold out its entire run of 33,000 copies on the morning of its release and raised $800,000 for Minneapolis charities. Those hefty sales enabled its lofty No. 12 debut on the Dec. 3 Billboard 200 chart. It also launched at No. 1 on Billboard's Folk Albums tally.
Since 1989, the annual "Sampler" album has raised $9.7 million for local Minneapolis charities. Over 400 organizations apply for funding each year, and the ultimate beneficiaries are selected by a seven-person committee at KTCZ. Last year, 38 organizations received funding from the sale of the 2010 "Sampler," including the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, Second Harvest Heartland and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
Why were only 33,000 CDs produced of this year's "Sampler?" Because of the charitable nature of the album, that is the maximum number that could be manufactured because of publishing and label gratis licensing restrictions for charity CD efforts. (Record labels, artists and publishing companies will sometimes grant the free use of a recording for a charitable cause, but have strict limitations on how many CDs can be produced.)